Sustainable Development to Promote Rural Prosperity

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Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) having achieved its primary objective of taking education to the remotest parts of the country, now looks forward to building a sustainable society. The need of the hour is 'Sustainable Development' which promotes development keeping in mind the requirements of our future generations Vocational Education plays a key role in the upliftment of the bulk of our rural and semi-urban population by providing them with newer and promising employment opportunities. These new avenues of income generation, provided through vocational education, help in skills development of an individual as well as aids in uplifting the living standard of the entire family. Thus, making its contribution in the development of a literate and self-sufficient society.

The emerging globalisation and industrialisation have resulted in a demand for more skilled workers. Rural and semi-urban areas are the potential resources for such skilled and semi-skilled workforce. Having realised this, the Government of India emphasised the need for the development of skilled and knowledgeable workforce in its XIth Five Year Plan. The focus in the plan is on developing a large pool of skilled workforce to meet the needs of industry, trade and service sector. It envisages involvement of public and private sector in this endeavor to bring credibility, quality and standards in these efforts. A National Skill Framework needs to be developed to ensure quality and consistency in terms of certification of skills and delivery of training. The present Vocational Education and Training (VET) which includes ITI's, poly-techniques, vocational higher secondary schools and other institutions cover a very limited segment of youth population as well as limited number of vocational traders. However, there is a need to provide skills and knowledge to a very large workforce engaged in different organised and unorganised sectors.

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Paving the way

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) with its country wide network of Regional Centres and over 2500 Study Centres has the greatest potential in this country to address the issue of the skill deficit. These regional centres and study centres network with the local educational and training institutions for providing modular skills in different skills and vocations.

Linking with the activities of the local micro, small and medium enterprises and grass root level civil society organisations, skill upgradation initiatives should be taken up by the various units of the university. The sutdy centres of different kinds, the Community College centres the 2 years Associate Degree programme by a credit accumulation process, Vertically Integrated Engineering Programme, Assessment and Certifcation of Prior Learning (ACPL) and the Telecentre movement for skill-upgradation, the Village Knowledge and Resource Centres and the collaboration with the rural NGOs are the recent IGNOU intervention in the skill development sector.

Coordinated and focused activities of the Schools, Centres and the large network of different study centres can really contribute to the National Skills Mission. The University offers 338 certificate Diplomas, Degrees and Doctoral programmes through 21 Schools of Studies, 12 divisions, 14 centres and a network of 61 regional centres, 2,800 study centres, and 52 partner institutions spread across thirty four countries with the help of 404 teachers and academics and 1205 administrative staff.

IGNOU is focusing on the much-needed activity in the addition to its regular activities of teaching and research. This would be IGNOU's flagship activity in the “Decade of Innovation”.  

Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, the honorable Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, has contributed in expanding the horizon of education by adding 10 new schools, one of which is the School of Vocational Education & Training. His dream has been to provide flexible knowledge and skills opportunities for the unemployed youth of India so as to equip them with meaningful skills and opportunities and help them become self-reliant. The School of Vocational Education and Training (SOVET), in tune with these objectives, has started several new programmes which have been made keeping in mind the market requirements. The programmes on offer provide knowledge enhancement, skills development and help in preparing an individual for job placements in the market.

The structural framework

Some of the skills oriented programmes offered by the SOVET, IGNOU are:

  • Certificate/Diploma/Post Graduation (Cert./Dip./PG) in Security Operations/Management/Fire Safety
  • B.A. in Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising and Production
  • Cert. in Travel Operations/Tour Guiding Skills
  • Cert. in Spoken English and Personality Development
  • Dip. In Business Process Outsourcing (F&A)
  • Diploma in Information & Assistive Technologies for the
    Visually Impaired
  • Certificate in Jewellery Designing
  • Cert./Dip. In Entrepreneurship and Skill Development
  • Cert. in Hospital Administrative Assistanceship
  • PG Dip. In Pharmaceutical Sales Management
  • PG Diploma in Pharmaceuticals Analytical Techniques
    MSc in Actuarial Science

IGNOU also offers Teacher Training Pogrammes to expand horizons in the course study as follows:

  • Bachelor of Vocational Education and Training
  • Diploma in Vocational Teacher Education
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Information & Assistive Technologies for the instructors of Visually Impaired

The School has both in-house developed programmes and programmes designed and offered in collaboration with partners having extensive industrial experience. .

Aligning to the success

Some of the focussed features of these programmes are scope for vertical mobility, multiple entry/exit options, practical training/internship, industrial collaboration,  employability/employment assurance, stipend,  sponsorship.

The School has both in-house developed programmes and programmes designed and offered in collaboration with partners having good industrial experience. To name few of them: Accenture India, Security Skills Council of India,  Confederation of Indian Industry, Pearl Academy of Fashion, Apollo Hospitals, Institute of Fire and Disaster Management (Vadodara).

Depending on the specific requirement of each programme in terms of learning of knowledge, practical training, internship, project etc. the School follows a flexible programme delivery approach, viz., residential, full-time on-campus, full-time off-campus, distance education, blended (Online, Printed Course Materials, and Face-to-face Counselling).

The School has been identified as a nodal unit for designing, monitoring and fund channeling of Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY)  Scheme of Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.

The Details

  • Sectors currently covered: Security, Telecom, and Rural BPO
  • Target: Rural youth (Security:21,500; Telecom:36,000; and Rural BPO:12,000)
  • Implementing Partners: Security Skills Council of India, and NIS Sparta

The School proposed to standardise and develop the following categories of training modules being run by Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) under the  National Literacy Mission, Ministry of HRD. Standardisation of training modules of the following categories of vocational training programmes being run by Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) to the School. The categories are:

  1. Maintenance and Repair of Electronic Appliances
  2. Printing Technology
  3. Building Technology
  4. Automobile
  5.  Refrigeration & Air Conditioning
  6. Mechanical
  7. Balwadi Teacher Assistant
  8. Hospital Attendent / Helpers
  9. Videography & Photography

Concerned areas

The School also prepared a draft Action Plan for Skill Enhancement and Certification of knowledge and skill of Workers in the Public and Private Sectors in the country as part of its commitment in enhancing gross enrolment ratio. The target group could be the workers/intend to work  in public and private sectors with the following levels of qualifications:

  1. Level-0: Class 5th Pass
  2. Level-1: Class 8th Pass
  3. Level-2: Class 10th  Pass
  4. Level-3: Class 12th Pass
  5. Level-4: Degree Pass

Initially, the programmes at level-0 to level-2 will be designed and
offered to the workers of different identified trades. The higher level of programmes will be designed and developed in specific sectors as per the requirement. In the pilot phase, the school will cover the following vocational trades to enhance knowledge and skill to the workers:

  • Security Services
  • Garment making
  • Anganwadi (ICDS) Workers
  • Agri Business/Marketing
  • Construction Worker/Building
  • Automobile/Two Wheeler
  • Reparing.

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